High Cost Transportation Aid Eludes Many Rural Districts

school busWe recently posted about the Department of Public Instruction’s (DPI) announcement that it distributed $7.5 million in aid to districts with above-average student transportation costs last month through the High Cost Transportation Aid program.

As detailed in a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, many rural districts (Rhinelander, Adams-Friendship, and River Valley are featured) do not qualify for the program for various reasons.  As noted in the article, the legislature has tinkered with the eligibility criteria in an effort to direct the funds to where they are most needed.  The WASB will be urging for improvements to the program in coming budget discussions with DPI and the Governor’s office.

The High Cost Transportation Aid program was created in the 2013-15 state budget to provide additional funding to school districts that have high per pupil transportation costs. Districts are eligible for this categorical aid (outside of revenue limits) if they have fewer than 50 students per square mile and per pupil transportation cost exceeding 150% of the statewide average.